World Vision writer Kari Costanza reflects on taking sanctuary in her church's parking lot while being stuck in a snow storm last weekend, and how World Vision and our supporters are able to provide a safe harbor for millions of children around the world.
Last Saturday, I celebrated a milestone birthday with my dear friend Laura Reinhardt, also celebrating a milestone birthday. I won’t tell you which. We did our favorite things – walking and talking for five miles around Green Lake, following by a dinner at a spectacular restaurant to which we also walked called Tilth. At Tilth, I discovered Porcini Brulee – my new favorite of the Brulee family.
Coming out of the restaurant, it started to snow. Forecasters had predicted it, but so often forecasters in the Pacific Northwest are wrong. If they forecast rain a week before a wedding day, you can pretty much be assured of sunshine. I thought the same might be true of snow. We dashed back to Laura’s house, I jumped into my car, and began the slow crawl from Seattle to Federal Way.
Pacific Northwest drivers are afraid of any kind of weather, but we especially fear snow. None of us can drive in it. My car, a 2004 Toyota Scion, is not built for snow. I began slipping on the freeway and made my way to a side street to try to get home.
Cars began twisting and turning on the slippery surface – ome would do a complete 180 and end up facing in my direction. I was scared. I decided I could drive no further and looked for a safe place into which to pull. There, on my left, was my church, St. Luke’s Lutheran.
I pulled gingerly into the parking lot and found a place to park next to the church bus. Then I called my husband Tom, an East Coast native and former news photographer who has four-wheel drive and a heart of steel when it comes to snow driving.
Sitting in my car, waiting for Tom, watching the snowflakes alight on my windshield, I thought, (being a writer) of what a beautiful comparison I could make between this experience, and how World Vision is working to create a safe harbor for millions of people around the world.
Every snowflake became another child – a child protected from sex trafficking, like Fatima. A child who will soon have clean water – like Teddy. A child kept safe from malaria by a mosquito net, like Delfina. Children rejoicing, hoisting Bibles high, thanks to spiritual nurture. Even twins, like Yve and Yvette, whose mother’s restaurant business is providing economic security.
My car, in the church parking lot, was safe, warm and dry. I posted a status on Facebook – "stuck at St. Luke’s in the snow." Soon a message from Jan Grothe, our church’s director of spiritual growth appeared: “Kari, Robert and I can come and get you. We live near the church.”
It made me think how being safe in a parking lot is one thing. But a church is only a church when there are people, and people are what make World Vision so special. The children and families we serve are undergirded by an army of people who care for them – who reach out, who pray, and who support World Vision’s work around the world. Because of our magnificent donors, for so many children caught in the snowstorm of life, there is a safe harbor.
Saturday night’s snowstorm turned from an obstacle turned into an observance, a chance to say thank you in my heart to my church and to the donors who support World Vision’s work as the night’s falling snowflakes turned back skyward as whispered prayers.
For about one dollar each day, you can provide a safe harbor for a child – whether that's protection from trafficking or malaria, clean water, economic security, or other necessities. Consider sponsoring a child today!